Thursday, December 3, 2009
Illustrator Interview: Debra Torrico
Today's interview is with the illustrator for MY book, Bubba Goes National! Read on and learn a little about Debra Torrico and what it takes to be an artist.
Visit my website to order your copy of Bubba Goes National!
Jennifer Walker: How long have you been drawing/painting? Have you always been interested in drawing horses?
Debra Torrico: Oh my, I’ve had a pencil or paintbrush in my hand for as long as I can remember… I doodled horses on almost any surface I came in contact with, notebooks, homework, even my bedroom walls… My parents actually allowed me to draw life sized carousel horses on all four walls of my room.
Jennifer Walker: Have you had any training for your art? How did you learn to draw so well?
Debra Torrico: I am currently attending the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg Virginia, majoring in Studio Art, where I am receiving a formal and classical education in the fine arts. Learning to draw and paint well is very dependent upon having well developed observational skills, studying the nature of the subject all while mastering techniques and the medium.
Jennifer Walker: Do you draw anything besides horses?
Debra Torrico: Horses are my passion, and I won’t deny they are my favorite subject to draw, paint and sculpt. However, I have explored the human form in portraiture, as well as still life and landscape painting.
Jennifer Walker: Tell us about the drawings for Bubba Goes National. What medium did you use?
Debra Torrico: The mediums used for the illustrations in Bubba Goes National are watercolor and pen and ink. The illustration used on the book cover is rendered in watercolor allowing for vibrant colors and a loose nature matching the energy of the image. The interior illustrations are completed in pen and ink allowing the images to be crisp and clear.
Jennifer Walker: What made you decide to apply for the job of illustrator on this book?
Debra Torrico: I decided to approach the author, Jennifer Walker when she mentioned she was looking for an artist who was familiar with the Arabian breed to illustrate her new book. As a passionate admirer of the Arabian horse (a breeder and exhibitor myself) I jumped at the opportunity to work with Jennifer and promptly sent her a sample collection of some of my works.
Jennifer Walker: Have you illustrated any other works or otherwise drawn professionally, and do you hope to do any more? Is this something you see yourself doing more of?
Debra Torrico: Bubba Goes National is the first work I have illustrated professionally. I do offer portrait commissions in watercolor and will be offering commissions in oil as soon as I can set up my studio. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being an illustrator and would certainly look forward to more opportunities as an illustrator in the future.
Jennifer Walker: Tell us a little about you, other than art. Your horses/other pets, your family, your day job, etc.
Debra Torrico: Our little farm in Virginia is quite the hub of activity. My husband, William is a Marine JAG (Judge Advocate General), which is a fancy way of saying military attorney, stationed at Quantico. We have a four year old son, Tristan who is a whirlwind of energy and a great little helper in the barn. Our farm is also home to three purebred Arabian horses, two mares (Showdivine and Arabella Arabesq), a stallion (CLA Black Label), one retired Paso Fino gelding (Futuro), two black and white barn cats (Rembrandt and Saskia), nine chickens (yes, they all have names, and are for egg production only) three house cats: two Siamese (Karma and Tomodachi) and tabby (Geisha). That’s a lot of critters!
Other than all of the work taking care of the animals entails the constant upkeep of our 100+ year old farm house keeps us on our toes. It is a lot of effort, but it is a labor of love and watching it all come together is very rewarding.
Jennifer Walker: Is there an artist who has inspired or mentored you in your work?
Debra Torrico: What a great question! There are quite a few artists I have connected with through my studies and aspire to… The Dutch Renaissance master Rembrandt for his use of light and probing detail, the French Romanticism painter Delacroix for his ability to capture the momentum of the moment, and the Neoclassical painter Bouguereau for his exquisite gift of portraying the human form both physically and emotionally.
An artist who has inspired me personally would be Joseph DiBella, my Drawing/Painting professor. He is a great source of knowledge and inspiration in his method and ability to nurture each individual student to dig deep and explore their own gifts, realize possibilities, to make unique marks and to be comfortable and confident in our talent.
Jennifer Walker: What is your favorite book or movie of all time?
Debra Torrico: So many to choose from... As a young teenager I remember being deeply moved by the book "War Horse" by British author Michael Morpurgo. I still dust it off and re-read it from time to time. As for movies, I think Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) still holds my No. 1 spot with its imaginative parallel between worlds of reality and fantasy.
Jennifer Walker: If you were to live in any country besides the US, which would it be and why?
Debra Torrico: Having already lived in and explored Egypt, Nigeria and Japan I think I would be keen to live in Hungary. My father’s side of the family is from Hungary and I think it would be very interesting to explore the history and land where my ancestors are from. Hungary is a breathtaking country, humbly sober and quietly proud.